It happens every year. And, every year I vow I won’t let it happen the next year….the debate is  preventable after all. To send them, or not to send them. What am I talking about, you ask?  Christmas cards of course!

This year, I nearly didn’t send any. Lots of excuses. I traveled to Japan for 18 days leading up to mid-November, came home to a scheduled foot surgery, quickly followed by the flurry of Thanksgiving…

Given the time crunch of my fall, and my limited mobility, I had already scaled back several activities for December, secretly hoping I could hide away with hot chocolate and catch up on my reading. But the house looked bleak without decorations, and rather than going out, people were coming to me, so I decorated—but didn’t put the tree up. Long stretches of darkness this time of year beg for the glitter and gleam of holiday lights and color.

I’m a pretty organized person, so why is the idea of sending Christmas cards be so daunting? After all, buy a box or several, or use a photo from your trip and have them made, and then just spend a couple of hours addressing them—and you’re there, right?

True confession #1—It’s the pain of keeping track of addresses. My address book is decades old—and there are no pages left unscathed. There are names of friends from college, grad school, my first job—etc,  families that were friends of my kids growing up, relatives that I haven’t seen in eons. Some addresses have changed 3-4-5 times—I’m running out of space!

And, yes, I know I could just buy a new book and start over, but there’s some nostalgic fix I get reviewing all of these pages…remembering times past, memories to savor.

True confession #2—My only contact with some of these people is with a Christmas card. Is it geographic distance or something more difficult to admit? The result is, there’s just no connectivity—intentional or just happenstance. Life happens, people change, time moves on.

True confession #3—For new friends, I often have digital addresses, but no location address. And, the digital address may be on my laptop, my I-pad or my I-phone. Which is it, and if they are different, which one is right? And, then, do I just send an e-mail greeting? Or Facebook message? 

True confession #4—I love getting Christmas letters, but don’t personally like to write notes in a holiday card. Not sure whether I’m lazy or just unable to come up with the right message on demand. Brevity is my style with this once-a-year tradition.

Lots of angst later, I mailed my cards. Not as many as last year, and perhaps more than next year. It was the expected but devastating death of a dear friend that shook me out of my self-indulgent limbo and pushed me into action. 

Life is short—take the actions you can, however small, to stay in touch. I added something new this year. I’m pruning the list, but reaching out more frequently, by phone, or e-mail, to those people I want to connect with. And, adding new people all the time……..

Happy Holidays!